Photograph: Woman with Sword Pin, c. 1895

Woman with Sword Pin, c. 1895

Photograph: Woman with Sword Pin, c. 1895

Backmark: None

Date:. c. 1895

Subject: Woman Seated

Location: Unknown

Note: This looks like a photograph of a Cabinet Card.

Dress: This woman wears a two-piece dress with large leg-o’-mutton sleeves. The bodice is fitted over a corset with tucks radiating up from CF/waist. The bodice closes at center front with hooks and eyes. The sleeves are typical of the mid 1890s. They may be supported inside with horsehair fabric or pleated buckram lining the sleeve, or a separate set of sleeve cages or pillows.

An enormous eyelet collar fans out from her neck and over the sleeves. The dress is finished with a high standing collar, bows at the shoulder, and trim at the waist made of velvet. A tiny sword pin pierces the front of the collar.

Hair: She wears her hair swept back, with small curls framing her forehead. A small comb holds the sides of her hair back, she probably has a matching one on the other side of her head.

The hat is typical of the 1890s. It rests directly on top of the head and level, and adds height with bows and feathers. Feather use in clothing and accessories reached a peak in the 1880s and 1890s. Entire birds (and other small animals) adorned hats and became fans. The straight, spiky plumes in this woman’s hat may be from one of any number of exotic birds, but are probably egret.

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